Posts Tagged: christmas

Dec 10

Happy Christmas!


Turkey, check; potatoes, check; parsnips check. Onions? Bacon, sausages, stuffing (two types, mind you)? The all important liquid sustenance? Christmas pudding, christmas cake, mince pies…smoked salmon, croissants for breakfast, a few extra eggs, just in case. Butter, plenty of butter. And double cream. And brandy. Salt, pepper, goose fat? Oh, milk – mustn’t forget milk. Cranberries?

Well, if you’ve got all those things (and I’m sure I’m missing a few), then you’ll survive. Just about!

Anyway, this is me signing off and wishing you all a very merry, yummy Christmas.

Just don’t forget the sprouts.

Dec 10

Crimbo crumble


A classic crumble is a necessity at this time of year and can normally be whipped up with a few storecupboard essentials. You’d be hard pushed not to find at least the majority of these ingredients in your kitchen over the Christmas period – spices, cranberries and dried fruits.

The other great thing about these crowd-pleasing puds is that they are a doddle to make – ideal for a Christmas dinner party. A crumble is always greeted with murmurs of approval – a nostalgic, warming, comforting pudding that cries out for teeth-chattering ice cream.

This recipe comes from Roast in Borough Market, one of my regular haunts; it’s a rare occasion I have room left for pud but last time I just managed to squeeze in a few spoonfuls of this delicious, Christmassy crumble.

Click here for the recipe for mulled spices, bramley apple, sultana and cranberry crumble

Dec 10

Perfect pastry



If you’ve followed this blog from day one you may well remember my abject fear or all things pastry. Pastry and I don’t, let’s say, get along too well. My mother would tell me I had hot hands, but I’m pretty sure I don’t – to the point where I’ve even run my hands under the cold tap to get them cool. But the other night something bizarre happened.I got out flour, butter, water and salt and put them together in a bowl. I mixed then, gently, with a knife and then with my hand. I kneaded it ever so slightly before chilling it in the fridge.

Then I began the rolling process – this is rough puff and thus requires the roll, fold, fold, fold, chill and repeat process. It was with some surprise that it all came together, it stretched, didn’t crack and was, well, rather good, if I do say so myself.

Then – mincemeat turnovers. I rolled the pastry into squares, filled them with homemade mincemeat mixed with a little clementine zest and toasted flaked almonds and then folded them over and crimped the edge.

They were brushed with a little egg yolk, then a good sprinkle of demerera sugar before baking in a hot oven until golden. A perfect Christmas pudding, with a spoonful of thick, luscious clotted cream.

Nov 10

Partridges and panic



It’s about now I look at my diary and get a marginal sense of fear – Christmas is less than four weeks away, I’ve been booked to cater for a load of parties, I’ve written two words on my Christmas gift list (no socks!) and I’ve got to get the ordering sorted for our Christmas lunch at home. Help!

While I was planning frantically what dishes the Leigh family will be tucking into on Christmas Day (and I’m the first to admit to being a traditionalist when it comes to our lunch) an email arrived from my great friend and champion of Spanish cooking, Jose Pizarro.

If you haven’t seen his book, Seasonal Spanish Food yet, it is definitely one to add to your Christmas wish-list. This laid back recipe is perfect for Christmas Eve, when his family traditionally eat it and uses one of the most delicious and accessible game birds – the partridge.

Click here for the recipe for Jose Pizarro’s partridge stew

Jan 10

Last of the leftovers


Happy new year to you all! By now I imagine you have just about managed to clear out the fridges, polish off the last of the port and pry the remaining relatives off the sofa, away from the television and out of the door.

I always find there are a few little bits that hang around though – chocolates, nuts and quite often a few too many mince pies (if that’s even possible, I’ve been known to make a batch in the middle of summer!).

This recipe is a delicious and enjoyable way to use up the last of the pies and a good excuse to make some more if you’ve run out. A chef’s suggestion – get one of the kids to do the stirring, as there’s quite a lot of it.

Click here to read the recipe for Mince pie and Armagnac ice cream

Dec 09

An Italian Christmas


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Christmas day is a day of food and celebration and so in the few days before I like to tuck into a few simpler meals. It also makes life much easier as most of us are running round like crazy buying presents and making sure we’ve got the fridge stocked with what seems like an army’s worth of food!

I think we all go a little mad at this time of year but in a way that’s part of the enjoyment. It seems like several weeks of hullaballoo just for a single day, but somehow the peace that descends (most of the time) once the turkey graces the table make it all worthwhile.

The Italians seem to have a far more relaxed view of things and take life a little more easily. This recipe comes from some friends who run a country farmhouse Il Masero in the north of Italy near the city of Piacenza. They eat this simple delicious pasta dish during the festive season.

Making pasta might seem a faff but it’s actually incredibly simple and is a perfect way to wind down from the madness that is Christmas!

Click here to read the recipe for Tortelli Piacentini

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